I picked up a grapefruit sized carnival squash yesterday while at Trader Joe’s. I’ve never cooked or even had a carnival squash before but, it is a winter squash and similar shape and size to acorn squash so I figured it would be similar in texture and taste as well…and it is. I’m already crazy Thanksgiving food and knew I wanted to bake and stuff this little carnival squash (it was about the size of a very large grapefruit) so I picked up some ground turkey, dried cranberries, and a big bag of kale to go with ingredients I already had back at the Annex.
This is a really simple recipe that can be adapted to whatever your diet restriction might be – dairy free, gluten-free, nut-free, vegetarian, low sodium, etc. It is very customizable, you just have to be creative in your stuffing fillings. My stuffing was pretty simple, but so delicious. There was no added salt to this either (except what small amount is in the spice blend I used). The flavors are that of Thanksgiving and perfect to make with leftovers, or if you are just craving a little bit of Thanksgiving throughout the year.
Stuffed Carnival Squash
- 2 medium carnival squash – cut in half and seeds removed/discarded (you can roast these as well!)
- 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 cup chicken stock (low sodium, or no sodium added)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup diced baby portabella mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoons Spiceologist Greek Freak Seasoning, divided
- 1 1/2 cup chopped kale
- 1/2 pound ground turkey breast
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup shredded Cabot Cheese – Alpine Cheddar
Method of Preparation
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Place cut and cleaned squash face down in a baking dish, add about 1/4 inch of water and cover with aluminum foil
- Roast squash for 30-45 minutes until fork tender, remove from oven and drain water
- In a small pot, bring brown rice and chicken stock to a boil, and cook according to rice specifications
- In a saute pan, add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil, add kale and cover for five minutes until kale is tender.
- Drain water, and place kale on a paper towel to drain (you want to remove as much excess water that you can)
- In the same saute pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and heat pan to medium heat
- Add mushrooms, green onions, and 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mixture, saute until mushrooms are lightly browned and tender
- Add mushrooms and green onions to the kale that has been set aside
- In the same saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat pan to medium heat
- Add ground turkey and remaining 1 tablespoon of seasoning mixture
- Brown turkey and add in pine nuts to toast during the last few minutes of cooking
- Once the turkey is cooked throughout, add in the cooked brown rice, dried cranberries, kale, mushrooms, and green onions, stir to combine
- Remove from heat and stuff cooked squash halves (you may have a little extra filling, but you can use that for another meal or snack)
- Top stuffed squash halves with shredded cheese and return to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes
- Remove from oven, and enjoy!